Homemade filo pastry

February 10, 2015
Pies (pites) are one of my favourite comfort foods so when I learnt how to make my own filo during my visit to Zagorochoria last year, a whole new world of flavour opened up for me.

I used to think that providing such proof of my “real” homemaker status was a difficult task, but trust me, it is actually a lot simpler than you might think.  The difference in taste will more than reward you.  There is simply no comparison between the homemade version and what’s available in your local store.

The recipe is pretty straightforward but like most things in life, the devil is in the details.  Choose the best flour possible and sieve it so it can gain in volume.  The oil also has to be of the finest quality and your rolling pin has to be long and thin, much like a broomstick in size. I bought my rolling pin in Ioannina, but you should be able to get one quite easily at a good purveyor of kitchen goods.  The true filo experts use something called a plastiri, which is basically a wood disc for rolling out the dough.  I personally don’t own one yet but my kitchen table is a handy replacement in the meantime.


750g of flour

1 glass of olive oil (use a wine glass)

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

1.5 cups of lukewarm water

Corn flour for rolling out the dough

Filo recipe

Put the flour in a large basin, open a hole in the middle to add the oil, salt, pepper and half the water. Knead thoroughly and keep adding water so that you have an elastic dough that’s not sticky.  Fear not, it will be very sticky to begin with but don’t be tempted to add all the water at once. Keep kneading, turning the dough around the basin so you incorporate all the flour and you’ll notice it slowly becoming less glued to your hands. When the dough is ready, split it into 4 parts, which you then roll into balls.  Coat them in oil and leave them in a tea towel covered up basin for about half an hour.

In the meantime prepare the pie stuffing and get ready for the next step.  I have provided a video link below that shows the technique.  Put a little corn flour on your plastiri or table, put one of the dough balls on there, press it down and sprinkle some more corn flour over it so you can start rolling it out.  Keep swapping the side you roll it out on so it becomes uniform and put some pressure on the rolling pin so it spreads out.  It sounds complicated but you’ll see it’s not as you get into it.

The filo sheet we’re going to use for the pie base needs to be a little bigger so it folds over the edges of the dish we’re using.  The following sheets need to be more or less the same size as the dish. Use one sheet for the base and two for the top, although making some extra is always handy.  If your base sheet ends up being a little too small, you can stick two sheets together with a little olive oil in the middle. As you lay the top sheets, coat them with oil so they become crunchy as they bake.

Click on the video link for a more hands-on demonstration of the above recipe.  I really hope you give this a go.  Trust me, it’s worth it. 
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